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The UK’s most prestigious chef competition is returning to London in March 2020

Talented chefs, inspirational ingredients and healthy competition combine for culinary greatness: the evolution of the much-loved International Salon Culinaire. Taking place at Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (formerly Hotelympia), at Excel London from 3-5 March 2020, International Salon Culinaire remains the UK’s largest and most prestigious programme of chef competition in 2020 with over 100 different competition classes over three days.

International Salon Culinaire is an investment by event organiser Montgomery Events to showcase the country’s most exciting up and coming chefs. It delivers a platform for fresh talent to show off their skills to a room full of peers and an engaged audience at the show and on social media. It truly has something for everyone whether they are a novice or a seasoned competitor and is judged by over 70 of the UK’s most esteemed industry chefs all of whom are members of partner associations – The Craft Guild of Chefs, The British Culinary Federation, The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and The Association of Pastry Chefs.

The Live Theatre

The Live Theatre is a contemporary, expertly designed theatre space with 10 x adjacent workstations. All fully equipped with state of the art energy efficient professional kitchen equipment supplied by members of CESA (The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association), the stations are set in a semi-amphitheatre style to let chefs keep a close eye on the competition and give the audience a great view of all the action. The space will feature back-to-back hot live classes throughout the three days of the event. Chef Director Steve Munkley, Executive Chef at The Royal Garden Hotel and Vice President of The Craft Guild of Chefs, will be curating the programme of challenging and exciting competitions, all requiring skills, techniques and ingredients prominent in today’s modern-day professional kitchen. Some new exciting classes have been added to the program and some others have been brought back, competitions include:

  • The Mystery Basket Grand prix sponsored by Bidfood.
  • Tilda Chef Team of the Year 2020
  • UNCLE BEN’S® and DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® Foodservice Student Catering Challenge
  • The Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 – Grand Final
  • The Major Series Final 2020 in association with The Craft Guild of Chefs
  • Master Chefs of Great Britain Challenge
  • The Craft Guild of Chef’s National Chef Team of the Year 2020 in association with MSK
  • As well as senior and junior pasta, lamb and pastry competitions amongst others

The online entry is now live and places are limited, with deadline for applications on 31st January 2020. Visit to apply today.

Salon Display

Sure, to be one of the most eye-catching elements of the event, the Salon Display, sponsored by Compass Group, will be a showcase of static culinary creations and incredible skill from senior, junior, and student chefs.

The 2020 Salon Display will see a welcome return for the “Table of Honour” – this is where some International Gold winning competitors will show off their medal winning exhibits for all to view.

Another highlight is the dedicated sugar-craft section, which will feature its own programme of competitions, including showpieces, floral sugar-craft arrangements, wedding cakes, novelty cakes and more. If you have a sharp eye for the most Instagrammable food in the country, this isn’t one to miss.

Nick Vadis, Culinary Director, Compass Group, says: “The Salon Culinaire has provided our chefs with an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of talent and skills being developed within our business. It’s excellent to see our chefs come away with an array of awards, and I’m always extremely proud of every chef that takes part in the competition.”

The Skills Theatre 

The Skills Theatre, which is also sponsored by Compass Group and supported by World Skills UK, is dedicated to chefs at the start of their careers. Through a range of cold live competitions (which include Butchery, Fishmongery and Knife Skills), young chefs will get to practise some of the essential skills that will become crucial as they progress through their career. With both kitchen and service classes, colleges the length and breadth of the country will be fighting for spaces in this salon, to test the abilities of their students and apprentices. As an enrichment to their teaching programs, this shows commitment from the college lecturers in going the extra mile for the betterment of their young chefs.

Next year for the first time specialist ingredients partners MSK Ingredients will be providing an exclusive training day at the MSK offices for the college/institution which accumulates the most medal points on the Skills Theatre across the 3 days.

Student, trainee or apprentice chefs undergoing a recognised catering qualification are all welcome, but entries close on 31st January 2020. So, visit the website today to apply.

Danny Leung, Head Chef at Lexington Catering, says that attending Salon Culinaire is always “a rubber stamped date in the diary”. So, get it into your diary today.

For more information about Salon Culinaire and the full programme of competitions, visit